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Mike Fink to Leave Covington Riverfront, Jeff Ruby's Waterfront Opening Delayed Till Spring

Dining on the Covington riverfront will continue to be non-existent in the coming months as the long-standing Mike Fink restaurant will be moved and reopening of Jeff Ruby's The Waterfront is delayed till spring.

The Mike Fink floating restaurant will depart its Covington home after residing on the south bank of the Ohio River for thirty-five years.

The City of Covington announced in a news release Tuesday that it had jointly agreed with owner Jimmy Bernstein that the boat would leave.

No firm decisions were made on how or when the Fink would return or whether its future presence would fit in with the city's Riverfront Commons master plan.

Covington is working currently on improving the area around Covington Landing where the Waterfront is supposed to reopen. That restaurant closed in the spring of 2011 when it broke from its mooring with dozens of guests and staff members on board.

It was announced in April that with the help of inccentives from the City of Covington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky the longtime riverfront staple would return "optimistically" by December. That is no longer the case as the design phase experienced delays and officials working on the Waterfront informed the City of Covington in September that the opening would be pushed back to the spring of 2014.

The Covington riverfront is the target of redevelopment efforts but those efforts are slow to come, but include the planned Riverfront Commons, a recreational area that would eventually connect multiple cities in Northern Kentucky along the rivers.

Some of the initial work that is about to get underway includes the area that the Mike Fink will soon vacate.

"The Mike Fink Riverboat and Restaurant presented charm and fine dining, as well as a glimpse into Covington's wonderful history relating to riverboat culture. We hope the Mike Fink will be part of Covington's renaissance," said Covington Mayor Sherry Carran.

Jimmy and Brad Bernstein said in the news release that they have fond memories of the Mike Fink and of the late family patriarch Ben Bernstein who was instrumental in making the city's riverfront one of the first in the area designated for entertainment.

In August 2012, Jimmy Bernstein told residents of the Historic Licking Riverside neighborhood that he had formed a partnership with Bob Conway of Karlo's Bistro to reopen the Mike Fink. Just a few months later, that deal fell apart over differences in the direction the reopened Fink would go.

As for the Waterfront, while there is a delay, City Manager Larry Klein told The River City News that Jeff Ruby is "still moving full steam ahead".

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Mike Fink/RCN file